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Old 10-25-2017, 02:38 PM   #91
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Because those of us who know what we're doing charge too much? For their budgets, I mean? Hard to bring yourself to pay a firm like mine, if you're used to Indian rates.

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The BPH's have plenty of money to hire proper staff. What would happen if they hired an editor who didn't know how to do the job? A cover artist that makes crappy covers? A layout person who makes crappy pBook layouts?

So I see no reason not to have staff who know what they are doing.
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Old 10-25-2017, 05:35 PM   #92
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How does fiction fit into progress of science and useful arts?
You also see copyright infringement in the jewelry business. I have had customers come in take a picture of a copyrighted piece of jewelry and have another jeweler make a copy. Then bring it in to my store and tell me how much money they saved.
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You don't think that fiction is a useful art? How about painting? In general, the founding fathers were a cultured lot. Many wrote quite extensively.
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Old 10-25-2017, 06:10 PM   #93
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Your statement implies Roman law had nothing to do with government.
The Romans didn't have copyright. In the West, the concept of copyright didn't come about until the printing press. Originally copyright was exactly what it said, a government granted monopoly on the printing of a given work. At first, it had nothing at all to do with the author.

Before the printing press, all books were hand copied by scribes. Copying books is what many monasteries did. The famous library of Alexandria was built by requiring anyone who entered Egypt with a "book" (technically they didn't have books as we think of them) to allow the library to make a copy of the work. Frequently, the library kept the original and give the owner the copy.

The original copyrights was simply a Royal decree, like most monopolies of the time. A printer might have the sole right to print the Bible. Another printer might have the sole right to print a different book. Like most government granted monopolies, there was no property in any sense of the word. It was simply a royal edict that could be given and removed at whim.

If you want to put copyright in perspective, it helps to look at how things worked at the time of the Constitution. Franklin initially made his fame as a newspaper publisher and to help circulation, he would write various articles under an assortment of pseudonyms. Those articles became quite popular, so other publishers would copy the articles and print them in their papers. From a practical point of view, there was little that Franklin could do to stop it.

One of the great truths is that ideas are not property. They are not physical, but more to the point, for all practical purposes, there is no way an individual can keep others from copying a give work or idea. I can keep someone from taking my house or my car, and I can keep someone from taking a physical copy of a book, but once I sell the book, I no longer control it. Simply stating that it is property doesn't make it so, anymore that me saying that I've 6'5" makes me 6'5".
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Old 10-25-2017, 06:21 PM   #94
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Roman law was enacted by a people's tribune (read: random people in the marketplace), based on their moral opinions. It wasn't until 529-534 that the government tried to codify a set of rules.
That's not true. The Romans first codified their law in 450 BC in the 12 tablets. Tribunes were elected by the people as a counter balance to the Senate. They were never random people in the street. Roman laws were much like modern laws They were proposed and then voted on in a rather convoluted manner by the people of Rome.
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Old 10-25-2017, 07:25 PM   #95
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@AnotherCat:

I can tell that you're not from the US. Your idea is that the government "grants" copyright to writers, as if they are the ultimate arbiters of what's right. In the US, we feel that law exists to codify rights with which we are already imbued, like the codification of the rights to free speech, worship, etc., in our Bill of Rights, etc.

I'd argue that copyright law exists to protect the pre-existing rights of creators to their OWN BLOODY creations. It's not some magnanimous "grant" of rights from The Government.

Copyright law exists for the simple reason that without it, people wouldn't bother to create valuable (by which I mean, provides value to the reader, of whatever kind, fiction, non-fiction, etc.) written products like books. Why would they, if those could be taken by anyone who wants it? Without recompense? We ALL, ALL, want payment for our labors. There's hardly anything indecent or abnormal or GREEDY in that.
You may like to instruct me that my idea is "that the government "grants" copyright to writers, as if they are the ultimate arbiters of what's right" with the sense that you have some route of familiarization as to what is in my mind beyond what I said in the thread. But I think that you are reading things into what I have written which is neither said nor in my mind. What I have said is everything to do with the rights of all citizens.

Yes, I do not live in the USA, and we do not have a Bill of Rights, nor do we even have a Constitutional document as the constitution is represented in the whole body of legislation, court decisions and conventions, and in being a representative democracy. This may all mean that we, and those in other countries like us, cannot "feel that law exists to codify rights with which we are already imbued, like the codification of the rights to free speech, worship, etc." like you say US citizens do, but I suspect not. Also, somehow we managed to sign the Berne Convention over 50 years before the USA did.

I have nowhere said nor implied that there should be no copyright; going by your second to last paragraph in the snip above you seem to have created in your mind that I did. I am well aware that some with strong attachments to the status quo see even talk of change as being a threat of complete demolition. But in this thread you will see that all I have been about is that their should be rights on both sides and that those seem to me to be very lopsided towards rights holders compared to those of everyone else.

I have no need to address in any length your firm words (that sounds better than calling them a "rant" ) regarding the protections provided to right holders, because I have pointed out above that I have nowhere said that right holders should be without rights. But it does seem to me that while copyright law exists to foster creativity it does not seem to me that valuable creativity would be stifled with change. Furthermore, that laudable justification of fostering has over time been distorted by those with vested interests mostly in their own pockets (and allowing myself to poke sticks in eyes , those vested interests being predominantly in the USA ).
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Old 10-25-2017, 07:46 PM   #96
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You don't think that fiction is a useful art? How about painting? In general, the founding fathers were a cultured lot. Many wrote quite extensively.
I don't think fiction books are so important that the copyrights should be removed so people can read for free.
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Old 10-25-2017, 08:02 PM   #97
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As I said in an earlier post, $20 per year in the US *is* nominal. It's less than 50 cents per week. My unemployed sister who is a full time student could afford $20 per year...if it was something that was important to her.
Just to provide weight to your case an analogy can be made with what a crazed inventor has to pay in order to maintain a patent. Note that I use "crazed" to signify a impoverished inventor or author setting out with the view of making their millions, saving the world, or whatever motive from their works .

In my own country an annual payment equivalent to approximately US$20 per annum has to be paid in order to maintain a patent. So similar to what is suggested for authors.

In the USA in order to maintain a patent the maintenance cost, as I understand it, varies according to the size of the entity and is paid not annually but after 3.5, 7.5 and 11.5 years - if one annualizes the maintenance cost over the 20 year term of a patent then for the smallest entities (who pay the least, others pay much more) it comes to US$150.50 per annum.

So it looks like we have that impoverished crazed inventors working in their garages can or have to manage to pay those fees, even though I have no reason to believe they have better means to pay fees than impoverished crazed authors do typing away at the kitchen table. But, it seems that the crazed authors, if comment on this thread is typical, are driven to scream and claim hunger and nakedness will result at the mention of maybe they pay just $20 per annum to maintain copyright. I sense an exaggerated sense of entitlement and claims there.

On top of the maintenance fee, a patent applicant is also faced with the high cost of attorneys, patent examination, etc. Those are, of course, are not relevant at all to copyright cases, but somehow crazed inventors seem to manage to pay them as well as the maintenance fee.

Last edited by AnotherCat; 10-25-2017 at 08:04 PM.
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Old 10-25-2017, 10:08 PM   #98
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This is not true, copyright has existed for thousands of years and can be directly attributed to Roman law, where (amongst others) a vindicatio usus fructus could be invoked by both the 'naked'-owner and the current owner against third parties that used it without consent. There was actually a complete set of tools that could be used against these kind of wrong-do'ers.

Roman law was the law that seeded the idea that there was a difference between ownership law, property law and intellectual property law, whereas in countries that follow French law (continental Europe, amongst others) there are only 2 flavors: ownership law and property law

So I don't really expect a conclusion to this discussion, considering there are multiple correct answers
The Romans did not have a system of copyright. It is arguable that some of the roots of copyright law can be traced back to Roman law. For instance, the Romans did come to recognise intangible rights, mainly rights comparable to modern easements. There is a very interesting discussion here if anyone is interested:

http://digitalcommons.law.umaryland....89&context=mlr
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Old 10-25-2017, 11:40 PM   #99
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I'm stuck on a couple of thoughts. The first one is that if we are treating copyrights as property does/should the state own them if an heir can't be found? The second is that having to renew copyrights is problematical unless there's a simple way to check registrations as well as an understanding about international requirements (having to periodically renew the registration in multiple countries would be burdensome regardless of fees).

BTW when I think of the value of the public domain my first thought is of historians and social scientists being able to reproduce sufficiently old books, notes, diaries and letters without the need to find and negotiate with heirs. In this case it's not the societal value of any individual work that matters but rather what can be determined from many.

On the level of individual works society as a whole may not suffer if a random book without a clear heir was unavailable but if all such books from the Illiad to the current day were unavailable I think we would all agree on the loss. At some point works should enter the public domain for the benefit of the public, the only question to be debated is when and how.
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Old 10-26-2017, 04:26 AM   #100
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If the simplest way is to change a 130-year-old international treaty with well over 100 signed up members, I don't think it's going to ever happen.

The best we can hope for is that the extension of copyright terms to longer than specified in the Berne convention is eventually rolled back.
And still, it's simpler than any other suggestion put up here

Berne is still 50 years after dead, so not going to make much difference to orphaned works.
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Old 10-26-2017, 04:27 AM   #101
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Shari:

With all due respect--and without pointing this person out--there's a person that frequents these forums, all the time, who could not POSSIBLY pay that, to retain some relative's rights. His/her living situation is such that literally, pennies count. That's an American, living with some physical issues with a spouse with an emotional/mental challenge. That's just ONE person, from these forums.

How many others do you think there are, that are like that, in the USA? A country where we had some horrible number of people, a %, on foodstamps, not that long ago?

I can, easily, afford $20/year. But not everyone can, and I don't make the mistake of thinking that it's a pittance to everyone.
I think the point is, if the book isn't earning you $20 per year then just let it drop into public domain.
Mostly as a easy way to sort out orphaned works which can't be published because no one knows who currently owns them.

The other simple option is registration is free for the original copyright holder and the charge is only for people trying to make money after they have died (Someone would have to fund the massive multi-country copyright database though).
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Old 10-26-2017, 09:01 AM   #102
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I don't think fiction books are so important that the copyrights should be removed so people can read for free.
Apache
The issue isn't read for free, the issue is read at all. That's pretty much the point of public domain. It's not that stuff should be free, it's that stuff should be available rather than lost. In the copyright act of 1870, all authors who wished to be copyrighted were required to send two copies of their works to the Library of Congress so nothing was lost. It is a true pity that this is no longer in effect.

Imagine if you would, if you could get a copy of any book every copyrighted in the US? Who cares about the cost? If free bugs you, then why not change it so that once a book goes into public domain, then anyone can print it, but they have to pay a fee, some fair percentage of the price of the book, or a set fee, whichever is higher, to the library of Congress. While the author or the author's spouse is alive the fee goes to them (you can also throw in while the author's children are below the age of maturity if you like), afterwards it goes to the upkeep of the Library of Congress.
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Old 10-26-2017, 09:12 AM   #103
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...

Yes, I do not live in the USA, and we do not have a Bill of Rights, nor do we even have a Constitutional document as the constitution is represented in the whole body of legislation, court decisions and conventions, and in being a representative democracy. This may all mean that we, and those in other countries like us, cannot "feel that law exists to codify rights with which we are already imbued, like the codification of the rights to free speech, worship, etc." like you say US citizens do, but I suspect not. Also, somehow we managed to sign the Berne Convention over 50 years before the USA did.
...
It is no coincidence that the US signed the Berne Convention right about the time that foreign revenue for US movies and music became significant.
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Old 10-26-2017, 09:35 AM   #104
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The issue isn't read for free, the issue is read at all. That's pretty much the point of public domain. It's not that stuff should be free, it's that stuff should be available rather than lost. In the copyright act of 1870, all authors who wished to be copyrighted were required to send two copies of their works to the Library of Congress so nothing was lost. It is a true pity that this is no longer in effect.

Imagine if you would, if you could get a copy of any book every copyrighted in the US? Who cares about the cost? If free bugs you, then why not change it so that once a book goes into public domain, then anyone can print it, but they have to pay a fee, some fair percentage of the price of the book, or a set fee, whichever is higher, to the library of Congress. While the author or the author's spouse is alive the fee goes to them (you can also throw in while the author's children are below the age of maturity if you like), afterwards it goes to the upkeep of the Library of Congress.
The point is that if the copyright holder does not want it available then he is perfectly within his rights. Just because someone wants to read it does not make it right or legal to force the copyright holder to relinquish their rights. If I have the copyright to my diary and do not want it published no one should have the right to force me to give up my copyright. And if it contained information about a crime a judge could give the government the right to read it within the legal parameters of the crime committed. They would not have the right to publish or make the diary available to others. Whether it is intellectual property or real property, within the guidelines of the law I have to right to dispose of it as I see fit.
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Old 10-26-2017, 09:54 AM   #105
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The point is that if the copyright holder does not want it available then he is perfectly within his rights. Just because someone wants to read it does not make it right or legal to force the copyright holder to relinquish their rights. If I have the copyright to my diary and do not want it published no one should have the right to force me to give up my copyright. And if it contained information about a crime a judge could give the government the right to read it within the legal parameters of the crime committed. They would not have the right to publish or make the diary available to others. Whether it is intellectual property or real property, within the guidelines of the law I have to right to dispose of it as I see fit.
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...and nobody is saying that you *have* to publish or make available anything. In fact, if we change to a renewal scheme, then copyright could last forever, as long as someone cares enough to renew the copyright every year. It could be the original author or the heirs of the original author--as long as they renew the copyright it is in effect. We could even set it so that there is a one year grace period so that copyright doesn't get lost accidentally.

The point is that someone has to actively do something to keep the copyright. Again, I don't care about getting a book for free--I'd rather pay for a nicely formatted copy. I just don't want the books to be lost because the rights holders don't care about them. (or nobody can find them)

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